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Response to IPCA report on unjustified use of Taser

Response to IPCA report on unjustified use of Taser by police officer

Please attribute to Acting District Commander for Counties Manukau, Inspector Julia Lynch:

Police acknowledge the findings by the Independent Police Conduct Authority that an officer’s use of a Taser on a 17-year-old man who was resisting arrest and spat twice at a Sergeant was excessive and unjustified.

During the early hours of 15 September 2016, the Sergeant stopped to intervene after he saw the highly intoxicated man and his girlfriend having an argument on the side of the road in Manurewa.

Almost immediately the man was verbally abusive to the officer who then attempted to arrest him for behaving in a threatening manner.

The man was resisting arrest so the Sergeant used his OC spray on him.

The Authority found that this was justified.

The man then became agitated and continued to verbally abuse the Sergeant because his girlfriend had been affected by the spray.

The Sergeant, fearing for his own safety, drew his Taser and called for backup.

Two officers arrived at the scene and the man began to calm down.

The Sergeant put his Taser away.

However, the man became agitated once again, so the Sergeant re-drew his Taser.

The officers were attempting to handcuff the man who was once again resisting arrest and then spat twice in the direction of the Sergeant.

It is at this point that he has used his Taser on the man.

The man did not make a complaint regarding the incident and it was Police staff who referred the incident to the Authority.

Although the man was resisting arrest, was verbally abusing the Sergeant and spat twice in his direction, police acknowledge that the incident could have been handled better.

Counties Manukau acting District Commander Inspector Julia Lynch says everyday police staff encounter dangerous situations where they are forced to make quick decisions to protect both themselves and our community.

“We are also carrying out an internal employment investigation which is still ongoing.

As Police have the same privacy obligations when it comes to employment matters as any other employer and I am not able to outline the results of that investigation thus far.”

“However I can say that as with every incident of this nature, lessons have been learnt and we continue to provide training and constructive feedback to help inform decision making and judgement with our staff,” says Inspector Lynch.

ENDS

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